The term ‘it’s a jungle out there’ seems never to have been more applicable. Graduate recruitment experts High Fliers released figures in 2013 that show there are still 10% fewer positions made available to graduates than in pre-recession years, yet the number of applicants for these roles has risen by 7% since 2012. So with demand for jobs from educated individuals increasing, but sufficient career prospects still dwindling, it is essential that you maximise your career prospects and that you start doing it now.
Whether you are still studying, recently graduated or navigating the world of work, there are a number of things that you can do to prepare and promote yourself.
Step 1 — You Are a Brand
You need to start thinking of yourself in these powerful terms: as something that needs to be marketed. This doesn’t come naturally to most of us but ultimately it’s about building your self-confidence. If you are studying then you’re going to be surrounded by opportunities to join societies and to start contributing ideas and opinions to large groups of people. Stepping out of your comfort zone is a fantastic way to test your abilities. Start observing yourself to see how you react in challenging environments to locate your strengths and weaknesses. Jot down your attributes and start thinking about situations where they’ve come into play. This is great for interview and application material and all-round self-awareness.
Step 2 — Make the Coffee
Work experience is infinitely valuable. From the start you are beginning the process of focussing on a career path, just by targeting a sector for volunteer work. The sooner you can start to whittle away at the mass of possibilities the better. By exposing yourself to the pace and pressure of specific jobs, you’ll get a better understanding of the reality of your chosen field. Skills such as communication and creativity are improved, all whilst making valuable contacts and increasing your employability.
Step 3 — Digitalise to Maximise
Your online presence has become just as important as your presence in the ‘real’ world. It’s all very well having an enviable CV printed on expensive paper, but if no one can see it you’re selling yourself short. You can cast the widest net by creating an online portfolio. This goes beyond LinkedIn because you can start to showcase your creativity and experience. It’s a continuation of the personal brand — making yourself visible and desirable to employers in a uniquely memorable way.
Step 4 — The Social Network
This is about getting engaged — but not in the traditional sense. Connecting online with brands and businesses in your chosen sector shows that you’re savvy and passionate. It’s fundamental that you treat this kind of connection as professional. It’s not about sharing reams of regurgitated information but commenting intelligently on blogs, responding to relevant tweets, making contact with other employees in the field and keeping up to date with industry news. This is a great way to start building those all-important contacts too.
About Author: Isaac works with the marketing team at Richmond University to help promote admissions to their study abroad program.